Apple may launch a $99 pair of “AirPods Lite” soon, but will they be compromised?

The AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 placed atop of a MacBook Pro (2019)
(Image credit: Future)

Have you ever thought AirPods were too expensive? Apple knows, as it's being reported, that a $99 pair of AirPods is in the works for a release in 2024.

In a series of tweets by Apple Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, she claims that all the new AirPods models will be launching in the 2nd half of 2024 and early 2025 — including new AirPods Max and these new sub-$100 earbuds. Let’s focus on the latter for a while.

Predicting the $99 AirPods

AirPods 2 Pro MagSafe Charging Case

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Now it’s time for the exciting part — some guesswork. What will these new cheaper AirPods be like? All we can do is take a look at the current cheapest (the $129 AirPods 2nd Gen) and see what corners can be cut.

First off, I can see some of the smaller elements making the cut, such as in-ear detection, smaller battery, no MagSafe charging, and maybe a reduction in the driver tech too. But hopefully enough time has passed and manufacturing costs have gone down enough to not lose out on too many of the features that make AirPods great: the U1 chip for Find My compatibility.

Though, as the headline alludes to, I fear these may be a little too bare bones when compared to what the competition is pulling off for this price. For example, the $109 1More Aeros give you ANC and spatial sound!

New AirPods Max in 2024

The Apple AirPods Max laying on a bed of leaves

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, this wasn’t the only thing announced, as Kuo also reported that a new model of AirPods Max could be coming next year too.

While nothing was said about what they feature, that doesn’t stop us writing up a bit of a wishlist based on our review of the 2020 model:

  • USB-C connectivity: Come on, this must be a given.
  • A better, more compact case: Currently, it looks oddly like a bra. To be able to fold them down further will do wonders for my backpack space.
  • Better breathability in the cups: Condensation can build up over listening sessions because of the insulating nature of the cup cushions. A better breathable fabric would alleviate this.


While no direct rumors circulating about the technology in these new lower-priced AirPods, we can only make educated guesses about what these may look like, based on the current line-up.

Whatever they may end up featuring, it certainly is exciting to see Apple tackle this cheaper market — one that a lot of true wireless earbud users flock to that does see some premium features like ANC and wear detection.

Not to say that we’ll see any of this from a far more premium brand like this, but we can dream!

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.